British retailers: How to recover from the riots

So let's get started. First thing's first:

Keep trading

Looking around at the wreckage that still remains, not to mention the hard-hit communities you serve, it would be easy to just give up.

Don't.

There are always setbacks in business - some are bigger than others. The only way to get through it is to keep on keeping on. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and carry on.

If stock has been stolen or destroyed, call up your suppliers and work out a way to replace it. Could you agree a short-term sale or return deal? A stock swap?

Could you buy in the stock you need from a similar shop in a nearby borough. You would be surprised how generous the public and small businesses have been in the wake of the riots. Tottenham barber Aaron Biber, 89, was able to reopen his shop for business after he received £25,000 in donations from the local community.

Insurance: Know your rights

If your property or stock were damaged during the riots, your first step is to report it to the police. Once you have a crime reference number, you should contact your insurer immediately.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has been very outspoken about its desire to help small businesses through this traumatic period. Insurers are attempting to resolve claims far faster than usual to allow businesses to repoen and most have 24 hour call centres.

What can you claim on? Most commercial insurance policies cover businesses for damage to their premises, including the interruption to their business as a result of fire and looting. Some policies will also cover those businesses which are not damaged but whose trade has been affected by the aftermath.

If you are uninsured, however, all is not lost. You can seek compensation from your local Police Authority under the Riot Damages Act. But act quickly. Claims must be usually received within 14 days but the Home Secretary Theresa May has extended this period to 42 days. You can apply for compensation here.

The £20m London Regeneration Fund

Boris Johnson has ear-marked £20m of funding for local authorities to help small businesses (fewer than 250 employees worldwide and less that £11.2m turnover) and commercial districts get back in buisiness following the riots.

Check the details of eligible areas. If you think you may be eligible, you should contact your local authority; you can find out how to contact your local authority here.

More time to get your affairs in order

Here's some more good news. HMRC has agreed to delay tax payments for businesses affected by the riots through Time to Pay. It has opened a Civil Disorder Help Line number - 0845 3661207 - to provide comprehensive advice.

Companies House is also promising affected businesses an extension on filing dates for financial information. If you are unable to file accounts or other documents on time as a direct result of the disturbances, get in touch with Companies House and you won't incur the usual penalties.

An interest-free loan

RBS and NatWest have announced a £10m fund to provide small businesses directly impacted by last week's riots with interest free loans. You can find out how to apply for a loan by speaking to your Relationship Manager or calling the Nat West and RBS Business Hotlines.

NatWest business hotline: (UK) 0800 158 5977
RBS business hotline: (UK) 0800 092 3087

One jeweller showed Sky News the burnt out shell where his jewellery and pawnbroking shop once stood. He's now unsure how he will make a living, but remains determined he won't be defeated.

Steve Moore said, "I've had over 25 robberies in my life. I've been stabbed, had a Samurai through my leg twice and threatened with a gun... I've survived and I carry on. I want to carry on. To come back from the ashes."

After the last week's events there has been an outpouring of national sympathy for those affected by riots and looting.

Small business owners in particular have attracted public generosity. Tottenham barber Aaron Biber, 89, has been able to reopen his shop for business after he received £25,000 in donations.

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